Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou speaks about democracy in communist China in an interview for German Der Spiegel:
Ma: Of course, there will be many difficulties in bringing about a fully democratic system in mainland China. But when a society enjoys universal education and a prosperous economy, and when a middle class has appeared, more and more people will express their views about public policies. This has happened in Taiwan, Southeast Asian countries, Latin America as well as Arab countries. From relative poverty through reform and opening-up to the world, mainland China has experienced tremendous economic growth over the past several decades. And the advent of the Internet has enabled more and more people to express their opinions on public policies. This phenomenon is impossible to prevent, and I feel that sooner or later mainland China will move toward greater freedom and democracy.
Ma is right. Human rights, freedom and democracy are coming also to China. The present corrupt leadership may still be able to crack down on human rights activists for a while, but not very long.
Brussels. Italian authorities announced today in Milan that, on the basis of information and assistance received from OLAF and the European Commission, the Italian judiciary has concluded a criminal investigation into a suspected fraud network in EU-funded research projects. The investigation in Italy concerns 22 projects with a total amount of funding paid of more than 50 million euro and is part of a broader OLAF investigation.
“Thanks to intensive cooperation over several years between OLAF, the European Commission, the Italian judiciary and Guardia di Finanza, a very sophisticated fraudulent network affecting the EU’s research budget has been eliminated. This case shows that OLAF and the European Commission by working closely together with judicial authorities in the Member States can successfully fight fraud against the EU budget,” said OLAF Director-General Giovanni Kessler, the press service of OLAF announced.
Evidence initially collected by the Commission (DG Information Society and Media) in the course of its audit work has been combined with information gathered by OLAF. Networks of inter-related companies operating in several Member States are suspected of claiming reimbursements of non-existent expenses in an organised manner using fictitious companies as partners or sub-contractors of research project consortia.
The suspected fraudulent activities were organised in a very sophisticated manner, with the intention of deceiving the Commission's control mechanisms. The organisational structures created were deliberately opaque and span several countries. Some of the methods used are similar to those used in money laundering and other organised crime schemes.